Overcrowding in the Triangle threatens to increase animal shelter euthanizations

Animal shelters across Wake County are overcrowded and resulting in increased euthanizations.

GH Falcon Staff

Animal shelters across Wake County are overcrowded and resulting in increased euthanizations.

Y-Nhu Do, Student Life Editor

Overcrowding in animal shelters across the country has pushed them to their limit, forcing animals to share kennels. Overcrowding impacted the Raleigh area in December 2022, when a sudden influx of animals quickly filled the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) to overcapacity, threatening its six-year euthanasia free record.

To continue avoiding euthanization, the WCAC introduced discounts on adoption prices at the start of 2023.

The center’s most recent discount was its Valentine special: Beginning Feb. 11 and ending Feb. 17, WCAC set the adoption fee for adult (six month and older) dogs at $25 and adult cats at name-your-price.

Increased pet surrenders, failure to spay/neuter pets and understaffed shelters are leading factors in overcrowding. These factors translate to increases in the animal population and insufficient shelter care and capacity.

The Green Hope community shed light on the important aspects of pet adoption within the Triangle.

Green Hope Social Studies teacher Mr. James Hutchison stressed that pet adopters must be ready “to have them as a major part of your life for many years.” 

People looking to adopt pets must also ensure that their home is suitable for the animals. “Don’t get a huge dog for a small college apartment without a yard for example, and don’t expect them to be perfect. You’ll live with pet hair and potential messes,” said Mr. Hutchison.

Green Hope student Matthew Melton (‘24) added that potential pet adopters should “do quite a bit of research.” He said, “Make sure you know what you’re actually getting yourself into. Getting an animal, depending on which type you get, will be a huge part of your life for a long time.”

Pebbles (left) and Bam Bam (right) are siblings. Both were adopted from the Wake County Animal Center. (GH Falcon Staff)

For those that are hesitant to fully adopt a pet, Mr. Hutchison offered an alternative solution: foster care. “If you are interested in getting a pet someday, fostering with an agency is a good way to feel out the responsibilities while helping out a pet waiting for adoption,” said Mr. Hutchison.

Mr. Hutchison also provided additional advice for helping to address overcrowding. “It is helpful to spread the word with friends and acquaintances that neutering pets is super beneficial to the pet population,” he said. 

While many remain filled, shelters continue to look toward adoption and foster care as ways to reduce the euthanization of animals.